Encompassing some 265 acres within scenic Bronx Park, the Bronx Zoo is one of the largest zoos found anywhere within the United States. Over 6,000 animals call the Bronx Zoo home, including a whopping 700 different species, and millions of visitors flock to its popular exhibits each and every year. Additionally, the Bronx Zoo offers guests the chance to enjoy plenty of unforgettable experiences like animal feedings, obstacle courses, and even a zipline adventure.
History of the Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo opened its doors to the public in November of 1899. At the time of its grand opening, it had fewer than 1,000 animals living throughout nearly two-dozen exhibits, and its primary focus was on education and preservation. Though its ranks have swelled in the ensuing years, that educational mission—with its dedication to conservation awareness—remains in place today.
It was here at the Bronx Zoo in 1916 that the so-called “first modern animal hospital” was opened, complete with a full-time staff of devoted veterinarians. Since its founding, all the way up to the present day, the Bronx Zoo has been run and maintained by the Wildlife Conservation Society. This organization also administers Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and the New York Aquarium.
What’s at the Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is home to several fascinating animal exhibits and unique zoo experiences. JungleWorld is a perennial favorite of many visitors. There you’ll encounter all sorts of animal species native to an Asian jungle, including tropical birds, leopards, Indian gharials, white-cheeked gibbons, tapirs, and more. Another star attraction at the Bronx Zoo is the Congo Gorilla Forest. While most people come, of course, for the gorillas, this 6.5-acre facility contains approximately 400 lush plant species and a host of other animals, like okapis, mandrills, and red river hogs.
Families visiting Bronx Zoo will not want to miss the Children’s Zoo. This kid-centric portion of the zoo features porcupines, anteaters, sloths, and flamingos—just to name a few. There’s also a farm habitat area where your little ones can get up close and personal with barnyard creatures like goats, turkeys, and chickens.
Unique zoo experiences available at the Bronx Zoo include multiple types of animal feedings. Of special note are the penguin and sea lion feedings, which take place here daily. Composed of bridges, tunnels, and a bunch of balance beams, Nature Trek is an interactive obstacle course that the kids (ages 3 and over) will love. For older visitors, Treetop Adventure provides the chance to zipline throughout the zoo along on an aerial ropes course.
There’s no better way to get around the expansive Bronx Zoo than by taking a ride on its Zoo Shuttle. This motorized trolley will escort you all throughout the zoo’s exhibits, providing a comfortable way to see almost every corner of this special place. Along the way, you’ll be able to take your pick of seasonal cafés and food stands situated throughout the zoo, as well as snag the perfect souvenir of your visit at one of the zoo’s gift shops.
Tips for Visiting the Bronx Zoo
- Entry to the Bronx Zoo is included on the New York Sightseeing Pass.
- Several popular Bronx Zoo attractions—like Treetop Adventures, Zoo Shuttle, and the Children’s Zoo—have limited seasonal availability. If you have your heart set on seeing a particular attraction during your visit to Bronx Zoo, be sure to check their website in advance of your trip to be certain it is open.
- If you’re staying in Manhattan while in New York City, consider taking the BxM11 express bus to Bronx Zoo. The BxM11 express bus makes a series of routine stops up and down Madison Avenue until 99th Street, at which point it heads directly to the zoo’s entrance.
- Outside food is permitted at the Bronx Zoo. This means that if you’re looking to save some money on concessions, bring your own lunch or snacks and treat yourself to a picnic. There are tables perfect for picnics located throughout the zoo, notably near the Dancing Crane Café.
- The Bronx Zoo runs special events throughout the year, from holiday lights extravaganzas during the winter months to dinosaur safari promotions during the summer to regularly scheduled zookeeper talks. Check out their calendar of events online before visiting to see what’ll be happening during your time here.
- The Bronx Zoo is located adjacent to the New York Botanical Garden, another New York City spot well worth your time. If you’re interested in visiting both of these attractions, think about making a day of it. The two sites would fit together nicely in terms of logistics.